Paramount Network’s new reboot of Heathers is getting delayed, and I’m not sure I can get behind the reason for pushing the show back. The dark, satirical comedy will center on a group of “Heathers,” who run their school with a mix of fear, intimidation and amazing fashion sense. The show, which is set in the present day, will also tackle some of the trickier subjects that face today’s teens, including gun violence. And that’s why the decision to delay the show, originally set for a March 7 premiere, was made.
“Paramount Network’s original series Heathers is a satirical comedy that takes creative risks in dealing with many of society’s most challenging subjects ranging from personal identity to race and socio-economic status to gun violence,” Paramount said in a statement. “While we stand firmly behind the show, in light of the recent tragic events in Florida and out of respect for the victims, their families and loved ones, we feel the right thing to do is delay the premiere until later this year.” There’s no word yet on what “later this year” means, be it later as in a month from now, over the summer or even during the holiday season.
You know who isn’t delaying tackling the tough subject of stopping school shootings? The kids who survived the Parkland shooting and other students all across the country. Seventeen people died in Florida that day, and the kids, the ones who are hugely affected by gun violence despite not even being old enough to vote, are the ones who have stood up and said enough is enough. They organized a lie-in at the White House. They’re hard at work putting together national school walkout days. They’re traveling to Washington, D.C., to march in an effort to shame adults into actually doing something about this country’s epidemic of gun violence.
While we can understand that Paramount wants to respect those killed and their families and loved ones, one has to wonder if the Heathers reboot will ever see the light of day at all. This delay could simply be another nail in the coffin for a reboot that’s been fraught with concerns that the targeting of minorities, the rampant recontextualization of slurs and loaded phrases and the reappropriation of various gender identities and buzzworthy conversations around sexuality is actually more harmful than productive. The fact that this Heathers reboot can’t seem to additionally grasp just how loaded the culture of violence in schools is, as implied by this statement about the delay, seems to be a sign that it should probably just go away altogether.